[GW2] The epic and the mundane


The one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater flying overhead! And us looting the chest after the fight.

Yay! Arb and I fought a dragon in GW2! It was big and purple! There was loot!

Let me describe a typical dragon fight in Guild Wars 2 – bear in mind that the dragons are the big bads of the setting.

  • Arb and I go to a zone, there is lots of running around like 4 year olds on a sugar rush as we both get distracted easily by hearts, vistas, gathering nodes, events, and just about anything else.
  • Someone in zone chat comments: anyone seen the dragon recently?
  • Someone else answers: it’s due in about 10 minutes.
  • I say to Arb: Just like a bus timetable.
  • She says: Probably 3 come at once.
  • We get distracted by the prospect of a dragon in 10 minutes and head to the other side of the zone to find the appropriate dynamic event (probably involving getting lost, splitting up, one of us dying from falling off a cliff, and more gathering.)
  • We get there, yay! The event is starting, yay! Lots of other players turn up, yay!
  • The dragon arrives, keeping a better timetable than local buses. There may be some mechanics and strategy but we’re too busy saying “ooo! It’s big” to really focus on them. The dragons are pretty big and impressive.
  • LEEKS! Arb spots a veg node.
  • We hare off in the middle of a dragon fight to pick the leeks.
  • We get back in time to see the dragon die and get some loot, which probably isn’t very exciting but you might get a nice rune.

It is very  typical of the GW2 experience that you might run off to pick vegetables in the middle of a boss fight. Even though you know perfectly well the veg will still be there afterwards, because all material nodes are shared.

On this basis, I am naming GW2 as being neither a Themepark nor a Sandbox but a Playground MMO. Free Realms might be another example of a Playground MMO. In the playground, there will be lots of different activities on offer. They will probably be a bit disorganised. There might be a small sandbox. You can do whatever you want, although staff will stop you annoying the other children. Some activities will happen at set times (eg. storytime). I don’t find the game childish, but there is something very childlike about playing GW2.

Maybe it’s the focus on play and playfulness in the open world. It feels difficult to take the game seriously. Why else would you run off in the middle of killing a dragon to go and pick veg?

9 thoughts on “[GW2] The epic and the mundane

  1. Talking about childlike exuberance, the costume brawl has turned Lion’s Arch into a warzone, with pigs and raptors and birds and all kinds of creatures tearing into each other. It’s awesome fun.

    • Is that the one in Orr? Because I did fight one other dragon and it might have been that one. I just thought it was really funny that we were just as excited about the vegetables as about the dragon.

    • Claw of Jormag is the one up in Frostgorge Sound (high level norn territory). It does have reasonably complex fight mechanics but at least on Gandara they’re overwhelmed by the sheer mass of people who have turned up to whack the loot pinata in the hope of level 80 rares to salvage for ectoplasm. The fight would go a lot smoother if more people paid attention to the mechanics and, for example, cleared the way for the bomb golems so they could stun the dragon instead of just turning on auto-attack and trusting that people around them would revive them when they get downed. However, there are enough players there that even with a majority acting dumb they still take the encounter down.

      However, last time I did it I noticed that the same guy who had boasted that he was turning auto-attack on and going AFK then complained that he didn’t get the loot chest afterwards. It seems that his contribution of a few auto-attacks followed by going down, being revived and then standing there like a lemon (repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary) wasn’t enough to earn anything 🙂

      • The shatterer was my first dragon kill; I felt it was a very lackluster fight, for all the awe the mighty beast certainly inspired. but it was basically all foot-bashing. CoJ is a much more interesting fight, and for once a chest spawned for us too . 🙂 not that we could use the loot, heh.

        As huge dragon lover, I am happy about the big beasts in GW2 (it’s also great how they keep flying around the zones, casting large shadows). however, so much more could have been done with them in my opinion. they’re loot pinatas on a 3-hour timer right now. why not have them attack towns? wipe out npc camps? block paths and portals? just so there’s some real impact and incentive for players to get rid of them.

  2. Why would someone leave to pick vegetables during a boss fight knowing they will be there afterwards? We have been programmed to do this by every other MMO we have played. I have to tell myself that this isn’t necessary during almost every event.

    As for why you might be excited about vegetables? I know I am excited for them. The cooking recipes in this game put many other MMO’s to shame just in the number of items you need. I like the cooking in this game, but it is also a pain in the butt!

  3. Pingback: Quote of the Week: Leeky Dragons | Kill Ten Rats

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